The Difficulty Of Forecasting An Ice Storm

Reported by: Mark Stitz
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Updated: 2/28 12:35 am
We are still days away from a winter storm that could bring freezing rain to parts of Kentucky, making it very difficult to say who will see rain and who will see freezing rain.

A large difference in temperatures is expected between southern Kentucky and northern Kentucky Sunday, and knowing exactly when each area will fall below freezing Sunday night is hard to predict a day before a storm hits, let alone 3 days in advance.

Meteorologists use various computer models to help forecast storms like this so far in advance, but each computer model is at least slightly wrong.

Meteorologist John Denman from the Louisville National Weather Service said, "Some models do well in this certain type of environment. Other models tend not to do well overall."

The further into the future models predict, the less accurate they become as small mistakes become large mistakes.

Only a minor difference in the track of a storm system can make a huge difference on the impact it has on the region.

If a storm system travels to the north of Kentucky, the region will see mostly rain.

If a storm system tracks further south, the potential for freezing rain and ice is greater.

With any ice storm, computer models and forecasts will become more accurate as the storm approaches.

Families, businesses, and government agencies will be keeping a close eye on the system as it approaches.

Natasha Lacy with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says, "About 3 days out, we start to really concentrate on what the meteorologists are focusing their reports on and then about 12-24 hours before a winter event, we start making our plans."
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